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The 1 Year 50 Book Challenge

Updated on January 30, 2013

"Reading? I Do Enough of That In School!"

Do you remember reading requirements in elementary school? In my school, we had an AR program. AR stands for Accelerated Reader. The goal was to get children to read more, take quizzes on the books they read, and then reward them with prizes for their efforts. I also remember how I just took AR quizzes without reading the books because there weren't enough books I liked with available AR quizzes. When I did that, my teachers got upset with me. I didn't enjoy doing any extra reading outside of class for a really long time. I used spark notes for summaries, and I cheated by looking up information about books on other websites as well just to get through class sometimes. I should have known that it wouldn't pay off in the end however. Not reading often enough is likely part of the reason that I read more slowly these days, and that makes doing reading for class take a lot longer than I would like.

The older I got, however, the more I began to enjoy reading again. This started with the "Cirque du Freak" series by Darren Shan, which you can read about in my other article, The Saga of Darren Shan: The Cirque du Freak Series. I began reading these books in middle school and continued reading them as each new part of the series came out through both middle school and high school. Once I finished the series, I moved on to other books like the "Harry Potter" series and all of the books written by Ellen Hopkins. I found that I really loved books in the young adult genre as well as the non-fiction history genre.

Now that I am in college, I realize that I don't have much time for reading outside of class. When you have to read chapters upon chapters of deep and lengthy material each week for class there isn't much extra time to read the things you're interested in. After realizing that I wasn't getting enough read throughout the year, I decided that my New Year's Resolution would be to read 50 books in 1 year.

The Challenge

This year, 2013, I am attempting to accomplish this daunting task. At first it may not seem too horrible of a challenge. But when you add on top of that text-book reading, going to class, doing your homework, completing service hours, assistant directing a theatre production, and working on marketing and graphic design for a second theatre production, it starts to get hard. Then think about the fact that are 52 weeks in one year. If you want to read 50 books in one year, then you need to read one book a week for all but two weeks.

That's a lot to accomplish. I'm determined to see it through to the end though, and I've been able to get a good start. It also helps that I'm allowing myself to reread books from the past. However, I'm still trying to limit the number of books I complete that are rereads.

What's also important to me, and should be to all people, is reading a variety of books. I've laid out some books that I would like to read this year, and I don't know when I'll get to each, but I do know that they will give me a variety of genres and periods and other such criteria. Here are some of the kinds of books I've decided upon already:

Epic Fantasy

The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin

Young Adult

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

Fallout and Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (reread)


Fox Nation v. Reality by

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

Confront and Conceal by David E. Sanger

Red Ink by David Meyer Wessel

And I will be reading books from other genres/categories as well throughout the year. I plan to read books that I do agree with, books that I may not agree with, books that are about real facts, and books that are completely fictional. I want to get a wide ranging experience from this challenge, and hopefully I will!


Now For the Important Question

Are you willing to challenge yourself this year? Do you think you can set a good number of books to read in one year and get through at least that many? 50 may be too many, but try even just 25. It's still a lot of work, especially because you probably have all kinds of other things to do, but it's truly worth it.

I highly recommend trying to get through some books this year outside of your other work, whether that be in school or in your job. When they started that AR program in schools, it was a good idea. I should have tried harder to read those books and do well on those quizzes, and I wish I had. I know now how important it is to keep reading, and I hope to inspire others to keep reading as well!

Are You Going to Take the Challenge?

Is This for You?

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    • alyssabarron profile image

      Alyssa Barron 4 years ago from Illinois

      It's going pretty good actually. I'm one week behind, but I'm reading two books this week to catch back up (and I'm already on the second one for this week).

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 4 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      How is it going so far, one month in?

      I already read about 20 books per year, so bumping it up to 25 books per year wouldn't be too much of a challenge.

      Good luck!

    • BraidedZero profile image

      James Robertson 4 years ago from Texas

      This is a terrific challenge! I only wish I had the time to read that many books! I will have to settle for something a little easier. My plan was to read all the way through the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. That's 15 books and I feel like that's a pretty big challenge.

    • profile image

      apimentel33 4 years ago

      This sounds like a fun exercise to take part of. I find that I sometimes take forever to finish certain books while I fly through others in a week or two.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Fun but challenging idea! You've certainly set yourself a high bar - perhaps if you read 49 in the first month the rest will be plain sailing! You may even have to train yourself in speed reading, something I did way back when. I found it works for certain kinds of texts but definitely doesn't when you want to delve a bit deeper.

      As a reviewer I read books (and poems from books) on a fairly regular basis but am relaxed about how many I get through! Looking at that image of a pile of books makes me shudder; hope you're ok with it.

      I would recommend Slaughterhouse 5 as a book you may not like but have to read - it's a love/hate kind of work. (see my review!)

      The very best in your bibliophilic pursuits.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I like your reading list! I just wish I had more time toe read. (sigh).

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      This is a very interesting hub. When I was younger, I didn't read that much because I regarded reading more as a chore than a pleasure. Now that I'm older, I'm reading more and really enjoying it. I enjoy reading the classics and have recently finished reading books by Hemingway, Maughm, Charlotte Bronte, and Mark Twain. I'm not a very fast reader, so it would be unrealistic for me to set a goal of 50 classics per year. If I could get through 10 of these books, I would be doing well. I am now reading Wuthering Heights and it has been slow reading for me, especially the beginning of the book. Voted up as interesting and sharing.

    • bizarrett81 profile image

      bizarrett81 4 years ago from Maine

      Great idea!!! I will take your challenge, but I have to bring my goal down to 20 at least. I have class, work, writing, and a 16 month old, so one book a week seems impossible LOL. Twenty would be amazing, seeing as I haven't read more then a few books a year (not including school related work) the past few years, especailly since I had my son. But I grew up LOVING to read, and there were years when I would consume a 1500 page book in a few days. I'm so glad you decided to give reading another chance, as Stephen King said "books are a uniquely portable magic". I am currently reading the third book in his series "The Dark Towers" which I highly recommend. Hey heres an idea, maybe we can write about our reading adventures on here, in review form, u know, like "alyssabarron's book challenge, book 1,2,3 etc". Just an idea = ) Can't wait to see how it goes!